Almost all the states in South West Nigeria have declared Tuesday, June 12 as public holiday. Osun, Ogun, Oyo, Lagos and Ondo said the day would be work-free, as they also line up commemorative events.
In Oyo state, the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, said the declaration by government was to commemorate the 25th anniversary of June 12 1993 election generally and widely believed to have been won by late business mogul, MKO Abiola.
The Oyo government expressed satisfaction that 25 years after the election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria, the winner of the election, the late Abiola, was recognized by the Federal Government.
The Oyo government also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the posthumous award of the highest honour of the land, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola.
It lauded the decision to make June 12 as the Democracy Day in recognition and honour of the martyrdom of Abiola and others who fought for the actualization of democracy in Nigeria.
The state government described the late politician and business mogul as a symbol of democracy.
“We commend and appreciate the late Abiola’s strong conviction that the ordinary Nigerian must be freed from the shackles of oppression, poverty, penury and want,”it said.
It explained that the ideal of the good governance which the late Abiola stood for had always motivated the All Progressives Congress (APC) governments at Oyo State and the federal level”
The government said that the dividends of this good governance which is pro-people will forever be remembered in the annals of the country, assuring of the continuous celebration June 12.
In Ondo State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said the day will be marked in Akure, the capital, with a a town hall assembly at the International Culture and Events Centre (The Dome).
The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Yemi Olowolabi, made this known in a signed statement on Saturday in Akure copy of which was made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
“All civil servants, market women, artisans, politicians, clergymen, students and Ondo State residents from all walks of life are invited to be part of the historic gathering in honour of M.K.O Abiola, winner of the June 12 1993 Presidential Election.
” It promises to be a riveting event with extensive focus on June 12: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”.
“The Town Hall Assembly will be anchored by Dr Kayode Fayemi, former Minister of Mines and Steel Development and former Governor of Ekiti State.
“Other members of the distinguished panelists at the special Assembly include Dare Babarinsa, founding Executive Editor of TELL Magazine; Odia Ofeimun, renowned Poet and Ifeanyi Odili, National Secretary of Campaign for Democracy amongst other eminent pro- democracy activists,” Olowolabi stated.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) recalls that President Buhari on Wednesday declared that June 12 would be celebrated as Democracy Day in the country from 2019.
The president also stated that the highest honour of the country, Grand Commander of Federal Republic(GCFR) would be posthumously conferred on Abiola.
Also to be honoured are Abiola’s running mate in the election, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe and Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi. Both would receive GCON.